Ring Redesign Part II: The Consultation

(If you missed the first installment of this series, catch up here: Part I.)

I met with Andre Lukawski on a beautiful, warm day in September to discuss my ring redesign. Andre’s workshop is located on the lower level of a three flat where he lives upstairs, on the northwest side of Chicago. He was waiting for me on his front porch when I arrived. I was so excited, it felt like I sprinted from my car to greet him.

I didn’t know what to expect as we made our way downstairs to Andre’s lair. I’ve never seen a jewelry workshop before—only jewelry store showrooms and the front counter of a jewelry repair shop. 

Upon seeing his workshop, my mind was blown by the scale of his operation. The wood-paneled room featured four separate workstations equipped with grinders, and buffers, and vices, and magnifying glasses, and all kinds of hand tools. In a smaller room off the main space (an erstwhile kitchen) sat an assortment of glass jars and vats of chemicals with tubing and wires coming out of them. It had the look of fully stocked high school science lab, and stirred within me giddiness at the prospect of all the jewelry alchemy that must happen within its walls:

Andre and I stationed ourselves at his large work table and, while maintaining proper distance with masks on, began to chat about my project. I had a clear vision of what I wanted my rings to look like, but didn’t appreciate beforehand just how many decisions were required to shape the design. Did I want the band to taper toward the stone or stay uniform in width? Did I want 14k or 18k yellow gold? How tall and wide should the bands be? What design did I want for the basket where the diamond would sit? As I contemplated the various options for each design element, Andre pulled out picture catalogs and sample rings from his behemoth safe to provide greater clarity for my choices. He made rough sketches and measurements as we talked, and paused throughout our conversation to pensively consider the design as it came to fruition in his mind. 

One of my concerns was whether I could save my original engagement ring setting, perhaps to gift to my kids someday. Andre had the wonderful idea that we could set a gemstone where the diamond had been. I’m planning to do that as a special gift for Sloane, maybe on her 16th birthday or as a high school graduation present.

Once we had worked through all the minutiae, Andre explained that he would convey the design to a CAD drawer, who would prepare renderings of my rings for my approval before making them. 

More to come about the renderings and the final product in Part III, the last installment in this series: The Final Reveal.


Stacks of Stacks

There are few things I adore more in the jewelry realm than ring stacks. I love the freedom to mix and match ring styles, metals, stone colors, and proportions. I love how well-curated stacks convey such a commanding presence on the hand. To me, bold ring stacks manifest luxury and power. Some nights, when I’m sitting in my daughter’s nursery rocking her to sleep, I run Google image searches of “ring stacks on fingers” and flip through a million photos. Is that odd? Maybe, but I trust this is a safe space for sharing.

Now that we’ve established I’m a Stack StalkerTM, let’s explore some of my personal favorites.

The Ruby Rose

I consider this first pairing to be my most successful stacking accomplishment to date. It brings together rings of several different geometries, metals, textures, and price points. Red is not a color I wear in clothes very often, but I love the fire and passion of this central ruby and how the bold color brings some spice to my otherwise temperate hand:

The higher the stack, the closer to God.

The two rose gold pavé bands with diamonds are both from Noémie, an excellent resource for ethically sourced, beautiful, and affordable diamond jewelry (and their online orders are delivered the next day). See here and here.

The asscher-cut ruby solitaire ring in rose gold was a custom design from a Michigan-based jeweler I found on Etsy. Similar pieces available here and here.

The octagonal black rhodium and ruby band is an unusual and edgy piece by jewelry designer Stephen Webster.

The twisted rose gold band is also from Etsy.

The Jewel Tones

This stack came pre-assembled by my trusty gal pal Kendra Scott. I love the earthy jewel tones and interstitial spiky bands that give the gemstones room to breath:

This one has always had a medieval vibe to me.

The Playful Pairs

I purchased this Swarovski mini-stack on a vacation in Italy. I normally like my stacks to feature an odd number of rings for balance, but there’s something so clean and feminine about this petite duo, which features black and pale pink faceted solitaires:

Don’t judge a ring stack by the hand that wears it.

Here’s another twosome I purchased at Art Effect, a local boutique in Chicago:

Definitely reminiscent of the pricier Ippolita Rock Candy line.

The Wedding Set

What would a post on ring stacks be without featuring my wedding set? I opted for two platinum pavé eternity bands–one with a simple circle motif and the other more fanciful–to surround the thin pavé band of my engagement ring, all from Steve Quick in Chicago (I highly recommend them for all fine jewelry needs – they are wonderful!):

The one downside of eternity bands is they aren’t easy to resize when fingers swell during pregnancy/summer.

Though I can’t claim it as my own, my friend Isabelle’s wedding stack is to die for. The beauty of her set is that any one of the rings makes an impact on its own, but they also look stunning together:

Isabelle’s covetable wedding stack.

The Aspirations

Jewelry designer Spinelli Kilcollin has a line of Galaxy Rings that feature multiple bands interconnected by smaller rings. The rings can be worn stacked or spread across multiple fingers. There are many options ranging from more affordable (with less sparkle, of course) to out-of-this-world pricey, but all are dazzling. I love the mixed-metal Vega SG style most of all (starting at $4,800):

Finally, if you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I’m a huge fan of UK-based jewelry designer Jessica McCormack. Her Instagram is chock FULL of drool-inducing stacks, e.g.:

Now it’s your turn to go forth and experiment. If you’re nervous to build your own stack from scratch, look for pre-arranged sets like these at various price points:

For further tips on how to perfectly stack your rings, check out these helpful guides.

How does your stack stack-up against the rest? Share your favorite stacks with me! My appetite for stacks is insatiable!